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Lawyer fees wrongful death case

Detroit, MI |

clear cut case suspect was at fault wrongful death using car accident suspect has 500k insurance and no assets.

what is the contingent fees in Michigan I heard 30 to 50 percent is that true?

without lawyer if I receive more than 350k from the suspect will be great recovery without lawyer

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Attorney answers 6


There is no such thing as a clear cut case and calculating damages on a wrongful death action may be difficult. Additionally, you have to make sure you include all individuals who have rights to be compensated. Bad idea. But you could find someone at the low end.


Normally 33%. I have gone as low as 25%


Usually it is 33%. Michigan Ethical rules make it not allowed for attorneys to receive over a certain amount. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Insurance companies look at inexperienced people without attorneys as easy bait that can be paid off. You are much better off getting a qualified attorney and giving a contingent fee than going through this alone. Many times even after taking out the attorney fee, the results are still much better for you. If I were you I'd focus on finding a great attorney rather than trying to skimp on the fees.

-Attorney Scott Aaronson
877-I-CAN-WIN (Call 24/7)
Always Free Consultations.

Scott R. Melton

Scott R. Melton


I agree with Mr. Aaronson. In Michigan the contingent fee is capped at 33 1/3% of any net settlement after expenses. In a wrongful death claim there is also the need for court involvement to approve and distribute the proceeds. In a "clear cut case" an attorney will occasionally agree to work out a modified fee arrangement to provide for a greater recovery to the estate.



Always consult an attorney IMMEDIATELY as there are time limitations on filing a lawsuit.


Do the right thing and hire a local personal injury attorney. I am sorry for your loss, but you would be compounding your loss by trying to do this one your own. There are many issues you may not have considered. You also did not tell us whether it was spouse, child or parent who died, and who else might be entitled to recover, so deal with your loss, and let your attorney deal with your case. Best of luck to you and your family.


There are very few 'clear cut' cases out there anymore as the courts and the legislature have continually reduced the rights of victims of irresponsible people to be properly compensated for their harms and losses.

That being said, you should never try to negotiate directly with an insurance company. While the typical fees in personal injury actions in Michigan is 33%, the attorney in a wrongful death case MUST inform the client of other ways to be compensated, which can include an hourly fee. If you have funds to pay a reasonable retainer up-front, you may wind up saving money. But, oftentimes, the insurance carrier will deny, delay and defend against these actions; yes, even the 'clear cut' ones and your hourly rate attorney will now be requesting payment every month for work he did in the last month. Both this aspect and the ability of an attorney in a contingent fee arrangement to advance expenses (for experts like accident reconstructionists, forensic accountants, etc.) rather than get the expenses up front from the client, makes the contingency fee the true playing field leveler, and allows the victim's family to get the advocate they deserve to have.


Mark Kelley Schwartz
Law Offices of Mark Kelley Schwartz, P.C.
29201 Telegraph Road, Ste 330
Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 353-4000
Email: mks at mkslawfirm dot com

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